This afternoon, a bipartisan group of members of the Senate Judiciary Committee introduced a bill that would implement numerous reforms to the patent system. Among other things, the bill modifies a number of aspects of patent litigation, protects consumers of off-the-shelf products who are targeted with patent lawsuits, and imposes transparency requirements on patent demand letters.
The following may be attributed to Charles Duan, Director of the Patent Reform Project at Public Knowledge:
“We have long awaited the day when the Senate would unveil its proposal for patent reform. The PATENT Act is a major first step toward meaningful patent reform that will protect consumers, small businesses, and the American public.
“Abusive patent assertion harms the entire public. When bad patents and unfair litigation tactics are combined into a blunt weapon, targeting core everyday technologies, the people directly suffer the consequences. By leveling the playing field of patent litigation in several areas, this bill should protect the technology-consuming public from the harms that patent trolls and other abusers cause.
“In particular, this bill includes consumer protections from abusive patent demand letter practices. Even more promisingly, we understand that the PATENT Act overcomes many of the problems we have raised with the TROL Act when it comes to patent demand letters, such as not preempting stronger state law protections.
“The bipartisan coalition of senators cosponsoring this bill shows that patent reform is not an issue of politics; it’s an issue of the people, who need and demand protection from abusive patent practices. Though certainly not perfect, this bill is a step in the right direction. We look forward to working with lawmakers as they continue their efforts toward strong, meaningful patent reform.”